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Oman - Exercise a high degree of caution
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Oman. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to the potential for violent demonstrations and the threat of terrorism.
Safety and security
Safety and security
Border with Yemen
Avoid approaching the Yemeni border due to the ongoing conflict in Yemen. Crossing the Yemen–Oman border can be difficult and very dangerous. Houthi militias and other forces operating in Yemen do not normally engage in cross-border exercises; however, you should still be extremely cautious near the border due to the potential spillover of violence. Terrorist groups have also used the conflict in Yemen as an opportunity to expand their territory and reach.
There is a threat of terrorism. Terrorist attacks could occur at any time. Targets could include:
- government buildings, including schools
- places of worship
- airports and other transportation hubs and networks
- Western interests
- public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners
Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places.
Demonstrations occur and have the potential to suddenly turn violent. They can lead to significant disruptions to traffic and public transportation. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the instructions of local authorities and monitor local media.
The crime rate is low and violence is rare. Robbery and auto theft occur. Do not show signs of affluence, and ensure that your personal belongings and passports and other travel documents are secure at all times. Do not travel alone after dark.
Lock car doors and keep windows closed. Do not leave vehicles unattended. When you do return to your vehicle, inspect both its exterior and interior for any attached device or suspicious package.
Be suspicious of mail and packages from unfamiliar sources. Contact your visa sponsor or the police if you suspect anything unusual.
Women have been detained when reporting sexual assault, as they must prove that the sex was not consensual to avoid being charged. Oman's laws criminalize extramarital sex (see Laws and customs).
Roads conditions in Oman are generally good. Exercise caution when driving in rural areas, especially after dark, because of roaming animals, insufficient lighting and speeding drivers.
Rainfall can cause significant flooding on roads, particularly during the rainy season.
Off-road driving can be hazardous. Undertake off-road driving in a convoy of four-wheel-drive vehicles and with an experienced guide only. Leave a travel itinerary with a family member or friend. Be well prepared and equipped with gasoline, water, food and a cellular or satellite phone if you are driving in the desert areas of Wahiba and Rub' Al Khali. Cell phones may have limited or no service in remote areas, which can become especially dangerous if you experience vehicle problems while driving in desert areas.
The Government of Canada does not assess foreign domestic airlines’ compliance with international aviation safety standards. See Foreign domestic airlines for more information.
Pirate attacks occur in coastal waters and, in some cases, farther out at sea. Mariners should take appropriate precautions. For additional information, consult the Live Piracy Report published by the International Maritime Bureau.
It is the sole prerogative of every country or territory to determine who is allowed to enter or exit. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry or exit requirements. The following information has been obtained from Omani authorities and is subject to change at any time. The country- or territory-specific entry/exit requirements are provided on this page for information purposes only. While every effort is made to provide accurate information, information contained here is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, express or implied. The Government of Canada assumes no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided. It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman or its consulates for up-to-date information.
Canadians must present a passport to visit Oman, which must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the date of expected departure from that country. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Temporary passport holders may be subject to different entry requirements. Check with diplomatic representatives for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must be in possession of a visa to visit Oman. You can obtain and pay for a visa upon arrival at Muscat International Airport. Seek advice from Omani authorities for detailed information on requirements related to each type of visa. Those overstaying the duration of their visa can expect heavy penalties.
Omani employers must obtain a work visa and a single-entry for you, either before or after you arrive. Omani employers often insist on retaining foreign employees’ passports as a condition of employment. This practice is illegal. Do not agree to this, as it could restrict your ability to travel and provide leverage to the employer in disputes.
Canadians have been denied entry into Oman because their passports bore an Israeli visa, an Israeli border stamp, or an Egyptian or Jordanian border stamp issued by an office bordering Israel. Such a stamp would indicate the traveller has been in Israel.
Some areas of the country are considered of strategic importance and cannot be visited without authorization from Omani authorities.
Children of an Omani father automatically acquire Omani citizenship at birth and must enter and leave the country on an Omani passport.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
- Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) in Middle East - August 1, 2017 00:00 EDT
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world. Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is required if you are coming from or have transited through an airport of a country where yellow fever occurs.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.
- There is currently a shortage of the yellow fever vaccine in Canada. It is important for travellers to contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of their trip to ensure that the vaccine is available.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Western Asia, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Western Asia. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher for children, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care provider about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in Western Asia, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, malaria, Rift Valley fever, and West Nile virus.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
Zika virus infection
Zika virus infection is a risk in this country. The mosquito that spreads the virus is found here.
All travellers should protect themselves from mosquito bites and other diseases spread by insects.
There is no risk of malaria in this country.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in Western Asia, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Medical services and facilities
Modern medical care is available in main cities but could be inadequate in remote areas. Immediate cash payment is often required.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws and culture
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
The work week is from Sunday to Thursday.
Carry identification documents at all times. Leave your passport in a safe place and carry a photocopy for identification purposes.
An international driving permit is recommended.
In the Governorate of Muscat, drivers involved in an accident must move their vehicles to the side of the road to reduce congestion. In the rest of the country, you must wait until the police have made an official report before moving your vehicle. Anyone deemed responsible for a motor vehicle accident may be detained for 48 hours. Consult the Royal Oman Police for more information on traffic rules.
Follow traffic laws diligently. Penalties for violations, such as driving under the influence of alcohol, excessive speed and failure to wear seat belts, are stringent. It is forbidden to use cellular phones while driving.
Illegal or restricted activities
Sex outside legal marriage is forbidden. It is against the law to live together or share the same hotel room with someone of the opposite sex to whom you aren’t married or closely related. Adultery and prostitution are illegal and are subject to severe punishment, including the death penalty.
Possession of pornographic material is forbidden.
The use of drugs is prohibited. Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict.
Prescription or over-the-counter drugs that are legal in Canada, such as those containing codeine, may be restricted in Oman. Possession of such drugs could lead to a jail sentence. Carry your original prescription and keep prescription medications in their original container.
Certain public areas may be restricted to men or women only.
It is forbidden to photograph certain government buildings and military installations. Do not photograph people without their permission.
Omani authorities do not permit criticism of the government, the sultan or the society in general.
Books, videotapes and audio tapes may be reviewed by airport and other customs authorities prior to being released to the owner to ensure that their content is culturally acceptable.
The laws of Oman prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. Those convicted can face the death penalty. Oman does not recognize same-sex marriages. LGBTQ2 travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Oman. See Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and two-spirit Canadians abroad for more information.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Oman. If local authorities consider you an Omani citizen, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services, thereby preventing Canadian consular officials from providing you with those services. You should always travel using your valid Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times to minimize this risk. You may also need to carry and present an Omani passport for legal reasons, for example to enter and exit the country (see Entry/exit requirements to determine passport requirements). Citizenship is determined solely by national laws, and the decision to recognize dual citizenship rests completely with the country in which you are located when seeking consular assistance. See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
Child custody decisions are based on Islamic law (Sharia). It is difficult for a Western woman, even a Muslim, to obtain custody of her children through a court decision. Minor children of an Omani-national father must have their father’s permission to leave the country.
Witnesses to incidents, as well as suspects, may be held for lengthy periods without access to legal counsel or consular officials. If access is granted, it may be severely limited by the Omani authorities. Authorities may withhold the passport of an individual involved in a legal process, pending resolution of the case. This could result in the delay of a planned departure.
Dress and behaviour
The country’s customs, laws and regulations adhere closely to Islamic practices and beliefs. Dress conservatively, behave discreetly and respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities.
During the lunar month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the Muslim calendar), refrain from drinking, eating, and smoking in public between sunrise and sunset. In 2018, Ramadan is expected to begin on or around May 15.
Respect restrictions concerning the consumption of alcohol. Do not drink alcohol outside licensed hotels. Public intoxication is advised against.
Avoid physical contact or displays of affection in public, including kissing and holding hands.
Exercise particular care in your behaviour with others, especially officials, to avoid offending local sensitivities. Verbal insults and obscene gestures may be considered a criminal act and, if found guilty, you could face deportation, fines and a prison sentence.
The currency is the Omani rial (OMR). Credit cards and U.S. dollar traveller’s cheques are widely accepted.
Natural disasters and climate
Natural disasters & climate
The rainy season extends from May to September and often causes flooding in the far south. Heavy rains may cause wadis (dry riverbeds) to overflow, flooding underpasses and tunnels. Sand and dust storms occur during the dry season.
Oman is subject to cyclones and tropical depressions, which are accompanied by strong winds and heavy rain. Flash floods and mudslides may occur, causing damage and inaccessibility to many transportation routes.
Dial 9999 for emergency assistance.
Muscat - Consulate of Canada
Riyadh - Embassy of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. In the event of a large-scale emergency, every effort will be made to provide assistance. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
See Large-scale emergencies abroad for more information.
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